Boston Tea Party ship and museum on the Fort Point Channel, Boston. Photograph by Robert Hull
Boston’s Fort Point and Seaport district is the city’s up and coming area, with a dynamic food scene, cutting-edge galleries and a decent line in craft beers. By Robert Hull
Flour Bakery and Cafe
Close to the Boston Children’s Museum and just off buzzing Congress Street is the sweet satisfaction of Flour Bakery and Cafe. It was founded when Harvard-educated management consultant Joanne Chang swapped spreadsheets for cakes and cookies to became a pastry chef. Chang opened her first bakery-cafe in Boston’s South End in 2000 and the second in Fort Point, in 2007, and says the intention with each of the (now four) shops is they become a part of the fabric of their neighbourhood. The motto here is, “Make life sweeter … eat dessert first!” and it’s an easy ethos to buy into. You’ll probably still end up deliberating long and hard over which cake to order, though. But if it helps, the sticky buns with caramel and pecans ($3.50) are justly famous (foodnetwork.com/shows/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/2-series/sticky-buns.html), the chocolate melt macaroons ($1.75) slip down well with an espresso, and the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting ($5.50) will sate anyone’s sweet tooth.
- 12 Farnsworth Street, flourbakery.com. Open Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 9am-5pm
Trillium Brewing Company
Lean against the impressively solid bar at this family-owned brewing company during its tasting hours and you’ll get the chance to savour samples of up to three of its brewed-on-the-premises ales. If you like what you sup – and on our visit the note-perfect selection was a Belgian-style house IPA, the tropical-slanted Dry Stack Batch and the sturdy but smooth Pot & Kettle porter – then you can buy a glass or take some away in bottles or ‘growlers’. Though the building was acquired four years ago, the tasting room has only been open for 18 months. The site had to be cleared of Big Dig dirt from Boston’s public works highway project but there’s a local-legacy touch that comes from knowing the wood for that solid bar was donated by a place around the corner.
- 369 Congress Street, trilliumbrewing.com. Tasting room hours Tues-Thurs 4pm-7.30pm, Fri midday-7.30pm, Sat midday-6pm
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
If a family-friendly activity floats your boat then indulge in some American revolutionary behaviour at a museum that’s on Fort Point Channel. The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum reopened in June 2012 following an impressive renovation, and its hour-long group tour is led by actors dressed up in 18th-century garb. It paints a vivid, though fun, picture of a city’s frustration at ongoing “taxation without representation” under King George III. And explains why, on the night of 16 December 1773, Bostonians gave vent to their anger at this by throwing crates of tea overboard from ships. Naturally, you exit through via a cafe and a gift shop that sell tea – it’s not water-damaged, though. Part of the annual re-enactment is now ticketed as the city makes a bigger spectacle of the event with a waterfront viewing area. If you’re tempted, the InterContinental Boston hotel, which overlooks the museum, offers Tea Party packages from $299 (intercontinentalboston.com/special-pkg/tea-party-package.aspx).
- 306 Congress Street, +1 617 338 1773, bostonteapartyship.com. Open daily (winter/spring) 10am-4pm and summer/autumn 10am-5pm. Online tickets $22.50 adults, $13.50 kids
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (ICA)
When it opened in December 2006 in a prime Seaport spot with views of the harbour and the financial district skyline, the ICA was the first new art institution built in the city in nearly 100 years. The gallery/museum – designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro – keeps a fresh focus, too, with exhibitions and projects from artists including Ragnar Kjartansson, Adriana Varejão and Christina Ramberg, and in displaying work in a range of media. It organises group visits, offers regular free tours and film nights, puts on music events and talks, and has a superb resources room with a superlative view. Inside and out, its clean lines and fresh feel give freedom to the art to express itself and for the public to enjoy a relaxing space to take it all in afterwards.
- 100 Northern Avenue, icaboston.org. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Admission $15 adults, under 17s free